In the stock music business, you rarely find out where your music is being used. Even when companies license music directly from your own website they don’t need to tell you exactly where the music is being used. As composers, we try to get our music in other libraries too, which means you will receive a statement with the fee you are getting and no further details. My music is in 7 libraries currently and one of these is Pond5.
So, I had a big surprise over Christmas when I went to YouTube and watched the ‘Weirdest Queens Speech Ever’ only to hear my fanfare at the beginning.
The Big Payout
Early in December, I got a larger pay-out than I was expecting from Pond5 for the fanfare of God Save the Queen. Somebody had licensed it on an extended license. They don’t tell me the name of the client, but this was the only license of the fanfare in December, so it must have been Channel 4.
Back in 2017, I was experimenting with orchestral sounds and set myself the challenge of doing an arrangement of God Save the Queen and then recording it as authentically as possible using orchestral samples. You can do this because the music is in the public domain, and providing you create your own arrangement and recording of public domain music you can sell licenses of it.
It took me a while to create my version, but I was pleased with the result. However, it felt wrong to not have some kind of fanfare at the beginning. Picture a row of State Trumpeters (yes, that is a job). I was not aware of any fanfare that was in the public domain so I decided to compose my own using the brass sounds in my orchestral setup.
This is the full version of my arrangement of God Save the Queen
As a composer, it shows the importance of making numerous versions of your music. Channel 4 licensed the Fanfare only and cut it down to 10 seconds. I doubt they would have licensed the full version.
Here it is in their video
Am I retiring now?
Not quite. Writing and selling stock music is a lifestyle that I enjoy, but if money was a big motivation for me there are many other ways of earning more money than creating stock media.
Stock music composers tend to earn small streams of income from many places to create a fulltime income. I know you will be curious to know how much my windfall was, so I will tell you. I got 35% from Pond5. My 35% was $45. If this had not been an extended TV license it would have been $8.
Not life-changing money, but I am happy to receive that for 10 seconds of a piece of music I finished 3 years ago. Also, it is great to have Channel 4 use my music.